We’ve all had a customer who calls up in mid-January and wants to rank well for Valentine’s Day terms – or one who e-mails us at Thanksgiving with their Christmas and New Year’s Specials and wants to make certain they will come up high in the listings for “holiday packages”. At such short notice, the only strategy that is certain to produce results within the given time frame is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
PPC ads are a great way to get seasonal messages out onto the web very quickly. One can easily manipulate an ads’ positioning, change pricing according to demand and availability, and turn the ads off when rooms are full. If you also want to rank well in the organic listings, however, you’ll need to factor in more time.
If you’d like to rank for seasonal terms in the organic listings, you should be thinking at least four to five months in advance. This will give you plenty of time to do in-depth keyword research; create an original, content-rich page about the topic; do appropriate on-page optimization for those keywords; get at least one good link pointing to the page; and wait for the search engines to crawl and index the page and reward your efforts.
Then, do not take the page down after the season or event. Instead, continue to build upon all of this good work. Leave the page up year ’round so that it can age, gather links, build Page Rank and become better positioned in the organic listings. The page will continue to attract some visitors, as well.
For the benefit of these human visitors:
- Soon after the event, place a prominent message on the page about when you will update it for the upcoming year.
- If you already have information in mind, go ahead and post it with the caveat that it may change.
- Offer a guarantee that if reservations are made before a certain date, you will honor last year’s pricing and/or provide something of additional value.
- Add a notification request feature to the page. Then, when information is added to the page or pricing is finalized, you can e-mail these visitors with the information or a link to the page.
- Photos and guest comments from previous years are good ways to attract attention, create a "buzz", and entertain visitors in the off-season.
Then, four to five months before the event re-occurs:
- Check your keywords and see if you need to tweak your optimization.
- Finalize packages and pricing, and post new information on the page, including photos.
- E-mail those who have expressed an interest and those who attended last year.
- Decide when you will turn your pay-per-click ads back on to augment your organic positions.
- Begin taking reservation deposits.
Creating pages for seasonal terms and events is a great way to add relevant content to your website. Add some well-optimized pages each year, beginning with your most important events, and soon, your website will be bigger and better, and it will rank well for more relevant terms throughout the year.
Mary Bowling – Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc.